Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pirate Themed Growth Chart Tutorial

Today I'm sharing with you how to make the base for our totally awesome pirate growth chart. You will need a 1x6"x6' board, a router, a palm sander, paint, paint brush (I used foam), flathead screwdriver, and wooden letters from a craft store. I purchased my board from the Home Depot, which stocks lumber precut in 6 foot lengths. This is useful, as you can make a FABULOUS growth chart with this length. I liked the 6 inch width because I want to measure both of my kids on the same board. If you have more kids, you might want more boards, or something like a 1x12". I started by using a router to take the edges off of one side. I just wanted them rounded so that there would be less risk of injury! :) Then I used the palm sander to slick it all up nice and get it ready for paint. You could do this entire step with sand paper, a plane, or even skip it if you wanted to. It really is a personal choice, but with twin boys, I like rounded corners. :)
Then I wiped my board down to get the loose dust and dirt off of it from sanding. This is important and don't skip it, or else you'll get a bumpy, crumby paint job. And no one wants their board to look like it has the pox. Then I started giving my board a lovely coat of blue latex paint. I had this color from a previous project and thought it would be a great pirate background color.
Then I let it dry, which wasn't really hard here in HOT, DRY Atlanta. So I got to give it a second coat almost as soon as I finished the first. If it is cooler where you are or humid, make sure you wait until your paint is dry. Your paint can should tell you how long, but I usually allow overnight when it's humid or cold here just because I don't like surprises. Give it a good second (and maybe third) coat so that you have an even, smooth base coat.
Then grab your letters. In my case, I need an M and an N. I grabbed them at Michael's the other day on sale, but I know they usually have them for less than a dollar for this size (the 3" tall). They also have smaller ones, rounded ones, and even LARGE ones. Definately enough options to please most projects. If not, carve your own. Or sculpt them out of Fimo clay. There are options. I then took my letters and sprayed them with a lovely coat of brass spray paint. The brass really didn't photograph well, so I'm avoiding showing you them right now. I promise, you can see them when we move on to assembly!

So at this point, you should have a lovely painted pirate ship (from yesterday's tutorial, if you missed it), painted letters, and a painted 6' board. Excellent! Tomorrow, we'll add details, which is the TIME consuming part! :)

Want to see some other people's growth chart projects?

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